The NFL Draft is set to take place, digitally, beginning on April 23, and as things stand now, the Seahawks are scheduled to pick 27th in the first round, and hold seven picks overall. Starting this week, Seahawks.com is taking a position-by-position look at where things currently stand on the Seahawks' roster, as well as the top prospects at each position. We'll also look at Seattle's draft history at each position under general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll.
Yesterday we kicked things off with a look at quarterback, and today we turn our attention to the other side of the ball with cornerback. Check back tomorrow for a look at where things stand at receiver.
Seattle's 2020 Draft Picks: Round 1, No. 27 overall; Round 2, No. 59 overall; Round 2, No. 64 overall; Round 3, No. 101 overall; Round 4, No. 133 overall; Round 4, No. 144 overall; Round 6, No. 214 overall.
Draft History Under Carroll & Schneider: Walter Thurmond (No. 111 overall, 2010), Richard Sherman (No. 154, 2011), Byron Maxwell (No. 173, 2011), Jeremy Lane (No. 172, 2012), Tharold Simon (No. 138, 2013), Eric Pinkins (No. 208, 2014: Pinkins later switched to LB), Tye Smith (No. 170, 2015), Shaquill Griffin (No. 90, 2017), Mike Tyson (No. 187, 2017), Tre Flowers (No. 146, 2018), Ugo Amadi, (No. 132 overall, 2019).
Where The Seahawks Stand
The Seahawks return both starting cornerbacks from the past two seasons in Shaquill Griffin and Tre Flowers, but in Carroll's always-compete world, there will be a newcomer pushing for a starting spot even before we see what the Seahawks do in the draft. That's because of a trade Seattle made earlier this offseason acquiring Quinton Dunbar, a starter last year in Washington, for a fifth-round pick.
The presence of Dunbar definitely makes the Seahawks deeper and more talented at cornerback, so that position doesn't look like a big need heading into the draft, but the Seahawks could very well still look to pick a cornerback or two for a couple of reasons. For starters, there's always room for more young, talented players to compete for jobs, and secondly, the Seahawks aren't all that settled at the nickel cornerback spot. Rookie Ugo Amadi ended the year as the starter there after the Seahawks tried Jamar Taylor and Akeem King there at various times, and Carroll said at the NFL scouting combine that the job was Amadi's to lose heading into the offseason, but he also made it clear that Amadi will have to earn that spot.
"We're OK if we don't add a guy, but we'll keep looking though, because nobody really owns the spot yet," Carroll said. "It's really Ugo's to lose right now. If we were going back, that's where we would begin, but he's going to be under siege now, he's going to have to really work hard to keep it, which is what the competition is all about."
If the Seahawks do look to draft a cornerback, the question then is how early they would address that spot. The Seahawks have drafted a cornerback—or a player they converted to cornerback—in nine of 10 drafts under Carroll and Schneider, but they've usually waited until the final day of the draft to do so, with Shaquill Griffin, a third-round pick, representing the only cornerback drafted by Carroll and Schneider prior to the fourth round.
NFL.com's rankings of the top cornerback prospects in the 2020 draft.
NFL.com's Top 5 Cornerbacks
1. Jeff Okudah, Ohio State
Overview (via NFL.com): Head coach and general manager's dream prospect with blue-chip physical traits, mental makeup and personal character. He has size, length and foot quickness to road-block press release and elite closing burst to close catch windows or eliminate yards after catch. He has room for improvement with his recognition and balance at the top of the route, but quarterbacks rarely target and beat him over the top. He has a rigid adherence to technique, but squeezing coverage even tighter and trusting his traits, talent and recovery speed could make him one of the top shutdown corners in the game.
2. C.J. Henderson, Florida
Overview (via NFL.com): Silky smooth boundary cornerback with mirror-and-match footwork and the agility and athleticism to stay connected to routes. He has NFL recovery burst and the long speed to track vertical routes downfield. He has the twitchy acceleration to jump a throw and take it away if the quarterback lingers on the target, and he's quick to wrap and finish after the catch. He makes mental mistakes from time to time and occasionally loses awareness from zone. He's willing and capable in run support but needs better control as an open-field tackler. Henderson is a fluid cornerback with ball skills and burst and has CB1 ability as a first-rounder.
3. Jaylon Johnson, Utah
Overview (via NFL.com): Boundary bully with an improving skill set to clamp down on WR1s and limit their exposure to the football. Johnson is built for press, with the size, length and athleticism to force receivers to work harder getting into their routes. His eagerness to stay tight to the route leads to inconsistent balance and positioning from time to time, but his foot quickness and agility allow for rapid recoveries. He's equipped to play the deep ball but needs to fully prove himself in that area. He's a physical press corner with off-man ability whose anticipation and ball skills should continue to help him make plays as a CB1 and first-round pick.
4. Jeff Gladney, Texas Christian
Overview (via NFL.com): Press cover irritant who plays an extremely competitive brand of football from snap to whistle. He has the twitch and route anticipation to stay close. Possesses ball skills to contest a good percentage of throws. His coverage traits should allow him to thrive in man or zone, but his desire to make every play on the ball could lead him into occasional bait-and-switch traps by smart quarterbacks. He's slender so teams will need to decide whether to play him outside or in sub-packages, but no matter where he plays, this ball-hawking alpha has the talent to help his team on all three downs if needed.
5. Trevon Diggs, Alabama
Overview (via NFL.com): Talented prospect with rare combination of size, strength and ball skills. As a former receiver, Diggs has an instinctive feel for his opponent's plans and uses his size and athleticism to disrupt the blueprint when possible. The foot agility and short-area burst are good for his size and helped keep completion totals low. He's inconsistent staying in phase with downfield routes and long speed is his kryptonite, causing grabbing and holding when panic sets in. He's a future starting press-man corner with the hands and ball tracking to take it away and should benefit from more help over the top as a pro. Future consideration at free safety is possible considering his size and skill set.